Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
It might be time to forget all about table manners, because a new study has shown that food actually tastes better when you eat with your mouth open.
A team of researchers from Oxford University have been researching the best way to eat food to get maximum taste out of our meals, and they’ve found that chewing food with your mouth open may actually help.
This is because open mouthed eating helps “volatile organic compounds” reach the back of your nose. These are basically the molecules that help create the smell and flavour of our food.
“Parents instil manners in their children, extolling the virtues of politely chewing with our mouths closed,” he added.
“However, chewing open mouthed may actually help to release more of the volatile organic compounds, contributing to our sense of smell and the overall perception.”
These compounds are only half the reason we enjoy food more. The scientist adds: “When it comes to sound, we like noisy foods – think crunchy and crispy. Both crisps and apples are rated as more pleasurable when the sound of the crunch is amplified.
“To best hear the crunch of an apple, a potato crisp, a carrot stick, a cracker, crispbread or a handful of popcorn, we should always ditch our manners and chew with our mouths open.”
“Our sense of touch is also vital in our perception of food on the palate,” he says in the study. “The research shows that what you feel in the hand can change or bring out certain aspects of the tasting experience.”
“While licking fingers after eating with our hands is never encouraged in polite circles, research would suggest we ought to consider scrapping the etiquette for utmost sensory enjoyment,” he goes on.
“Or consider only how pleasant it can be to lick the bowl with your finger when making a cake mix at home.”
So, there you have it. Sod being polite, lick your fingers, scoff open mouthed and tuck into your food without any shame…